|Air Date:||September 30, 2010|
|Written by:|| Josh Singer|
|Directed by:||Jeff Hunt|
|Guest Cast:|| Sebastian Roche as Thomas Newton|
Russell Harvard as Joe
Artine Brown as Blake
|Transcript — Additional Images|
The Box is the second episode of the third season of FRINGE. It first aired on September 30, 2010. The team investigates a mystifying case of victims frozen in a trance-like state that was induced by a mysterious box. Bolivia works with Thomas Newton on their plan against this universe. Walter and Nina meet at Massive Dynamic for a reading of William Bell's Last Will.
In Milton, Massachusetts, a frightened family is bound and gagged in their living room as a deaf man searches for a pick-axe in his tool kit. In the basement, his cousin and another criminal have dug through the concrete floor in search of a mysterious metal box they were hired to retrieve. Well paid for the crime they are committing, they cannot resist temptation and look inside the container once they have retrieved it. Both men immediately become catatonic and begin to bleed from the nose and ears. Their deaf colleague, Joe, returns with the tool he was sent for and discovers the now disabled criminals. Panicked, and unaffected by the box, Joe closes it and takes it with him. Upstairs, the family has become entranced and are bleeding from the head as well.Bolivia joins Thomas Newton in his hideout to collect the materials he has gathered to help her assume her new identity as Olivia. science team and Broyles. She is curious about how he has gathered so much. He explains that he has been in this universe for years, since she was in high school, and has cultivated many resources. She finds a History Of Pop Culture book that he wants her to study. The book will help her get familiar with her mission environment. Newton takes out a laser-like handheld device and starts to work on the back of Bolivia's neck to eliminate the tattoo that might compromise her identity, and their mission. Bolivia sits and reads, then comments on U2 singer Paul Hewson. Newton warns her not to be too allured with this universe - they started the war! Bolivia asks about the task she gave him - retrieving the box from beneath the house in Milton. He fills her in - he sent a team of hired men to get the buried device, but not his usual people, he wants to conserve his resources. Bolivia flexes her authority and reminds him - this is her operation, he works for her, regardless of how long he has been on this side. Indeed.
In Walter's lab, Astrid reads William Bell's public obituary to Walter, who thinks the obituary is too generic... and that they are low on butter. Broyles and Peter discuss the blueprints for the weapon from the parallel universe. The device has been assembled, but Secretary Bishop still needs several components. Plus, he's missing a really important piece - Peter. Walter gets upset with the idea, and begins to rant about nuclear threats and mass destruction in fractions of a second... rant complete, he needs to return to the market. Broyles reminds Peter of his job, keeping Walter focused.
At the crime scene in Milton, Broyles briefs the team that the neighbors found the dead family only a few hours before, and that the Medical Examiner believes they died at around ten o'clock the evening prior. Walter begins to visually examine the gagged victims and suggests that their blood is lighter than it should be. Perhaps it is mixed with something else, like spinal fluid. In the basement, the home invaders receive a similar inspection. Walter adds that they appear to have been in some type of vegetative trance before they died. Whatever did this to them did not kill them right away. No one knows what the thieves were after, but the large hole in the basement floor leads Peter to the assessment "beware of buried treasure." Broyles postulates that a third thief took whatever was dug up.
Bolivia returns to Newton's shop to chastise him on his little foolproof plan. It wasn't. Two of his men died like he planned, but the third survived and took the device. Newton tells her he only hired two men, not three. Plus, no one can survive the device. Regardless, someone did and they need to find him.
In his cousin's apartment, Joe stands and stares across the room at the strange box that killed his accomplices and the family in Milton.
In his lab, Walter removes Blake's squishy brain and creeps out Astrid in the process. He finds it oddly comforting, then compliments her on her cross-sectioning of brain samples for study -- has she ever worked behind a deli counter? Astrid spots a mark on his necktie and takes off her gloves to help remove the errant brain bits. Walter handles the faux pas and licks the raspberry jam off. Peter enters the lab and collects Walter for their trip. Astrid asks for a minute with Walter, cleans him up and sends him on his way with a bolt of confidence.At Massive Dynamic, Peter listens to Walter as they walk to Nina Sharp's office. Walter feels insignificant in the large, active building, but he is very interesting work in a nearby lab that stops him in his tracks. Nina finds the Bishops and ushers them to their meeting. Walter comforts Nina with an awkward hug about the great loss they share. Once they have settled in the large meeting room, the Last Will And Testament Of William Bell is read to them. Bell tells them that even if he had hundreds of friends, he would cherish the two of them the most. Nina receives an envelope, and a ship's bell, a remembrance of Tuscany. Bell praises Walter for his wisdom and knowledge, and hopes he is forgiven. Walter receives an envelope too and reads the contents. Nina and Walter stare intently across the table at one another. Peter remained silent during the reading, but as they leave, he asks if his father is going to share what was in the letter Bell left for him. Walter doesn't think so... no. Peter answers his ringing cell phone and learns from Broyles that Dunham is not answering her phone. Are they at Blake's apartment yet? Blake. One of the two men found in the basement? That is news to Peter: He is not with Olivia.
At Blake's apartment in Cambridge, Bolivia searches the messy residence alone. Peter startles her
Walter sits in his lab in a glum mood and examines the brain of one of the Milton corpses. Astrid asks how the reading of Bell's last will and testament went. Walter avoids responding and babbles about a centipede that can crawl through nasal passages and wreak physical havoc on the brain. Astrid questions the precept and doubts that is the cause of the deaths. Angry at the message he received from Bell, Walter lashes out. Astrid soothes him and learns about the safety deposit box key Walter was bequeathed and the short truism from Bell - DON'T BE AFRAID TO CROSS THE LINE. Emotionally, Walter is right back in the middle of the old argument the two scientists always shared. They spent days discussing the wisdom of crossing the line. "Only those that risk going too far can possibly know how far they can go" was Bell's position. How can he tell Walter to cross the line, in his final words, when he knows the damage Walter caused in the parallel universe. Astrid defends Walter's most important action, he did save Peter from death, regardless of the consequences he inflicted. She insists that Walter explain it to Peter. It is something he must understand. Walter knows, he just hasn't been able to find the right moment. Walter puts on his jacket to leave, then notices that Endolymph fluid is on the brain he has been studying. That means severe damage to the inner ear and a possible solution for what happened in the house in Milton.
In Olivia's apartment, Bolivia studies her counterparts' testimony on a taped recording she has on her laptop computer. Bolivia realizes that the woman she is impersonating has something she does not - a photographic memory. There is a knock at the door and she closes the laptop computer before checking to see who is visiting her. She grabs her pistol and discovers that Joe is delivering the box that was taken from Milton during the home invasion. She orders Joe into the apartment at gunpoint and has him put the device down. Joe asks that she not hurt him. Bolivia listens to him talk and realizes that he is deaf - that is why he didn't die when the box was opened.
Walter corners Peter as he finishes his call in the office. Walter wants to come clean on the recent revelation about Peter's childhood. The reading of William Bell's last will and testament was very hard on him earlier in the day, but it wasn't nearly as hard as saying goodbye to his son. Peter isn't up for the conversation that Walter wants to have right now, he needs to call Olivia about their theory on the ultrasonic aspect of the case. Walter continues - when his Peter died - he lost all hope. His wife Elizabeth, and the window he had into the alternate universe, were the only thing that kept him going. Walter always told Bell it was too dangerous to cross into the alternate universe, but when he saw Peter dying, and that he could save him from death too... Peter is incensed at being taken from his family and world. Walter tells him that taking him from his family forever was never the plan - he never intended to keep him. However, he might make the same choice again, without the strength to act differently. Walter knows that what he did was terribly wrong, but he loves Peter. Peter is not ready to talk about it any further.In Olivia's apartment, Bolivia explains to Thomas Newton how Joe saw her badge when she was standing
Thomas Newton enters the Kent Street subway station carrying the container that Joe delivered to Bolivia. He sits on a bench and places the container next to himself. At the other end of the bench is a small homeless man. Newton greets him and the man inquires about the box, and its' contents. Newton deflects the questioning, but suggests the contents might pale in comparison with the man's imagination. Isn't it better to wonder? Newton reads for a short while, then asks the man to look after the container while he goes to the restroom. The vagrant asks for, and receives, a gratuity for the favor. Newton says he won't be a minute... then walks to the stairwell and departs the loading platform.In Olivia's Apartment, Bolivia and Peter continue their romantic interlude on the sofa.
On the street above the subway station, Walter recalls that he visited a massage parlor just around the corner. This was the transportation stop he used. Broyles briefs them before the enter the subsurface train station. They have at least five more victims in a trance. Broyles orders the on-scene commander from the Boston Police Department to evacuate every subway station in Boston. Broyles continues his briefing on the loading platform - initial research of security camera footage showed a small man walking into the train tunnel carrying a metallic box. Walter inspects the victims, frozen in place on the loading platform, and surmises that they are suffering from the same symptoms as the home invasion victims in Milton. Broyles adds that the metallic box carried into the train tunnel might be what the thieves retrieved from the basement of the house in Milton. The subway system is managed by computer and all trains have been ordered to cease operations in the tunnel.A police captain reports to Broyles that the bomb squad is ready to deploy a man into the tunnel. weapon blueprints he received from Secretary Bishop. Broyles is stumped - how is a part of the weapon from the alternate universe in this one?
Peter tells Broyles that the ultrasonic device looks just like other components he saw in the parallel universe. Maybe this ultrasonic component is a missing piece, one that Secretary Bishop couldn't find in his universe. Broyles wants to know why there are missing pieces of the weapon in his universe. Few things would surprise either of them anymore. Walter interrupts, and is ignored... bacon-flavored pudding would be a surprise. Peter asks to take the component back to the lab to study and compare to the blueprints he has for the wave sink device. Broyles allows it. Bolivia intercepts Peter as he prepares to leave the station - she is guessing that Peter has other plans for the night, other than her. He does, but that is alright with her. Broyles has a side conversation with Walter and a word of encouragement. The events with the ultrasonic device made for a bad day... but it could have been worse and many more could have died without the Doctor's quick thinking. Broyles moves to another conversation and Walter removes the key to William Bell's safety deposit box from his pocket - he considers his next act.
Walter finds his way to a brightly lit bank and then to an interior safe deposit vault. The banker in the vault removes a container from a wall of locked containers and places it on the table for Walter. Walter opens the container after the banker leaves and looks slightly baffled at what is inside.
In Walter's lab, Peter prepares to take notes, inspects the ultrasonic device and compares it to the blueprint plans he has laid-out.
Walter roams the halls of a quaint apartment complex looking at door numbers. He stops in front of 204, checks his note, then knocks. Astrid answers the door and is a little surprised to see who her visitor is. Walter immediately tells her that he knows what William Bell left him in his Last Will. Walter removes an envelope from beneath his overcoat and announces that he was left Massive Dynamic. He holds out a stack of certified corporate shares: As far as he knows - he is now the sole shareholder of the giant, multi-national, corporation.
Bolivia enters the communication room that she and the shape-shifting soldiers have been using, closes the door, sits down and rolls a fresh piece of paper into the Selectric 251. She types...
- PETER HAS FIRST PIECE.
- HE IS ACTIVELY ENGAGED.
Bolivia waits a few seconds and then reads as she receives updated mission orders.
- BEGIN WORK ON DR. BISHOP.
- The Observer enters the subway station just as Thomas Newton leaves the box and climbs the stairs.
- Bell's final testament paraphrases a line from Isaac Asimovs' book Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain - (Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.)
- William Bell's obituary covers three columns in the newspaper. It is only four paragraphs long, but repeated three additional times to appear more grandiose.
- The Kent Street Station on the MBTA Green Line C does not have an associated underground subway station.
- Continuity Errors
- Walter removes a pan from an elevated flame, places it on the countertop, then walks around the workstation to talk to Broyles. When he gets close to Broyles a few seconds later, the pan is sitting back on top of the elevated flame.
- Cultural References
- Citizen Kane. Walter references Rosebud, the quintessential mystery from Orson Welles' famous movie Citizen Kane.
- Episode References
- Doctor Laxmeesh Nayak (Dream Logic) is discussed by Olivia, as Bolivia studies videotaped testimony.
• Crazy by Patsy Cline
• Marriage of Figaro by W. A. Mozart
• Miami Vice Theme by Jan Hammer
- Note: Combined with last episodes "A-M-B-E-R" message, the first two episodes of Season 3 gives us AMBER ALERT, the well-known child abduction bulletin used in many nations.
|— Plot Relevant Questions —||Address theories about questions on The Box/Theories Ask minor questions on the Talk Page|
1) Do not answer the questions here.
- Who originally buried The Box under the basement in the house?
- How did Newton know where to send his men to retrieve The Box?
- What is the message in the letter written to Nina Sharp by William Bell?
- Is there any significance to the bequeathed ship's bell, apart from William Bell's name?
- Why does Bolivia outrank Newton in this universe if he has been here since Bolivia was in high school?
- Is Newton being punished, or demoted, by Secretary Bishop?
- Was Newton acting in accordance with Bolivia's plan when he left The Box in the subway station?
- Were Bell and Nina's time in Tuscany together romantically-oriented?
- If so, was Walter aware of the romance, or jealous at it's mention?
- What effect, if any, would The Box have on an Observer?